Quantitative Economics Major Gives Students More Options

Some adjustments in Kalamazoo College’s Department of Economics and Business have created a new major that will provide additional academic options and future career opportunities for students.

Quantitative economics, which is now declarable, follows most of the curriculum for a standard economics major, but requires two additional math courses, Integral Calculus and Linear Algebra, and two new additional quantitative economics courses, Econometrics and Game Theory, without needing more time to graduate. Econometrics is a computer lab-based theory course that delves into economic questions and issues using statistical methods. Game Theory applies strategic decision making and microeconomics to solve real-world individual and business problems, using mathematical tools.

The adjustments for the new program might seem subtle to some. However, Edward and Virginia Van Dalson Professor of Economics Patrik Hultberg said quantitative economics will better prepare students who are interested in pursuing academic programs beyond K and more technical career paths, such as data analytics. Overall, it will examine economic issues, explore theories and predict future conditions using statistics and mathematical models while emphasizing analytical skills.

Patrik Hultberg working at a blackboard as quantitative economics major comes to Kalamazoo College
Edward and Virginia Van Dalson Professor of Economics Patrik Hultberg said that quantitative economics will be an excellent option for students who are interested in pursuing academic programs beyond K and technical career paths such as data analytics.

“What we have today is two groups of students,” Hultberg said. “Some are perfectly happy with an economics major as it is. Those are students who might be interested in going to law school, public policy fields or similar jobs. But we also have a subset of students—a greater number than in the past—who might double major in economics and mathematics or computer science. The new major will give students interested in quantitative economics—and not upper-level math courses, for example—a chance not to double major and thus open up their schedules so they can take other important courses, like courses that teach how to communicate effectively.”

Hultberg said that over the past few months, he has received emails from students who are thrilled about the new major option. The opportunity should be especially enticing for international students as the Department of Homeland Security defines quantitative economics as a STEM program. That means the major can help international students extend their Optional Practical Training (OPT) by up to three years and stay longer in the U.S. by pursuing practical training or temporary jobs while gaining valuable work experience through their F-1 student visas.

“I’m excited for it and we have some students who are super excited for it,” Hultberg said. “If economics is your true passion, you just want to have options that support that. And if prospective students are interested in quantitative fields and come to K, they will be well-prepared to go to graduate school, whether that’s a master’s in finance or a Ph.D. in economics, and they will be well prepared for jobs in quantitative fields.”

For more information about the quantitative economics major, contact Hultberg at Patrik.Hultberg@kzoo.edu.